In my life I've only heard TWO albums that I could spend time studying or working to. I don't mean that these two have been the only ones I could ever bear to hear the sound of. Instead, I'm saying that they seem to really boost me up and increase my productivity in a way others cannot.

They're both soundtracks. One is James Horner's OST to the film called 'A Beautiful Mind', while the other is an album composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson for 'The Theory of Everything'.

It's funny, but there's just something about these that makes me feel like I'm about to make some amazing, ground-breaking scientific discovery or something. I understand that both of the pictures these albums appear in are science-related, but what IS it about the music that makes it sound so sciency? Is this a particular sub-genre of music, and if so, what are its characteristics?

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    Hi Chocojunkie, welcome to the site! This is a great question. I gave it some minor edits to make it more on-topic for us --we discourage directly asking for opinions, since that is almost always off topic across SE, I also made it more into a genre question, since that is more on-topic for us than recommendations. Jan 18, 2018 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


There is a well established link between musical and mathematical aptitude. Anecdotally, I've also found that a surprisingly high percentage of programmers are professional or amateur musicians.

There's also a clear if not well-defined link between genres of music and certain types of activities. If you're farming, ranching or driving your pickup truck, country music is an ideal soundtrack. Programmers tend to enjoy electronic music, and the blues grew out of music that made hard physical labor go more easily. Given that, it's no surprise that highly abstract, pattern driven music is good for intellectual activities, particularly the study of science.

You might have some luck looking for minimalist modernist classical music of which Philip Glass is perhaps the most celebrated exponent. Other minimalists include Terry Riley and Julius Eastman. For a more classic approach, Bach's Fugues and Preludes are also noted for being highly abstract and pattern-based, as is classical Indian percussion.

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